PRESTON, Minn. – Hundreds of people came to the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday for its annual Memorial Day Service.
“Each one of us is here today to pay our respects,” Robert Gross, veteran and Cemetery Administrator, said as he addressed the crowd.
People took the day to remember and say thank you.
“I think we all appreciate it. I don't think any of us go into it looking for a thanks that's not why we do it,” Gross said.
But they are still two words needed to be said.
“The ones that we're honoring today didn't quit. And that's why when you see a veteran, you thank them. And that's why we're here today,” Lt. Col. Craig Neuzil said to the crowd.
The service honored veterans through music, tradition, and guest speakers.
Some who came to the service, like Deb Stevens and Nikki Moon, got a few minutes to be closer to loved ones they lost.
“If I said anything to him, I'd say I miss you,” Moon said.
“We miss him every single day,” Stevens said.
They came to the ceremony not only to remember, but to also visit Stevens’ husband and Moon’s father, Gayle William Stevens.
“12 years in the air force, and then he was with the Minnesota National Guard after that,” Stevens explained.
She has been coming to this service ever since her husband died three years ago.
“Being here just fulfills me,” she said. “We need to honor veterans more than we do.”
“Once a year, take that moment to remember the sacrifices they gave,” Lt. Col. Neuzil said.
“He’s smiling. He’s smiling down on all of us. And he says thank you,” Stevens said